Steady on, Damian!

Immigration minister Damian Green wants to crack down on foreign students who stay in the UK after graduating. Research Fortnight news editor Brian Owens wonders if that means him.

A couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to find myself a subject of discussion on the BBC’s Today programme on Radio 4. Well, not me personally, but a group of people that includes me.

On 6 September, immigration minister Damian Green said that Home Office research had found that a fifth of the 185,000 people given student visas in 2004 were still in the UK five years later. He used this statistic to support his argument that student immigration levels were “unsustainable”, “out of control” and indicated students would be one of his main targets in the government’s reform of the immigration system. Read more in Research Fortnight.

The Big Cull: Where did all the scientists go?

The House of Commons is preparing for the biggest turnover of MPs since the second world war. Half of the 646 MPs will step down or lose their seats, including a majority of those with an interest, or expertise in, research.

Scientists and campaign groups, not to mention science journalists, are worried. But how bad will it be? Read more in New Scientist.

Don’t panic

The speedy insertion of impact assessment into the plans for the Research Excellence Framework last month has alarmed academics. To grade work not just on its scholarly merits but on how useful it is, economically and socially, is anathema to many researchers. But the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s plans are not as bad as they may seem, and their potential adverse consequences pale in comparison with those of the equally hasty implementation of the impact agenda at the research councils. Read more in Research Fortnight.